Our results are only as good as our plan.
1. Develop the right plan for you.
Some people are very detail-oriented and are able to closely follow an intricate plan. Others are less detail-orientated, which is OK, too.
So what plan is the right plan? The plan that fits you. Each of us is unique and motivated by different factors and you’ve got to develop a plan that is right for you and fits you. Some plans will not be as intricate as others, but we all must have a plan, along with goals in that plan, to move us along. If you are a free spirit, don’t tell yourself you are going to spend two hours a day with a book and a journal. It probably won’t happen and you will just get discouraged. Whatever your personality, your strengths and your weaknesses, develop the plan around them. This is not a one-plan-fits-all proposition.
2. Establish times to spend on it.
It might be every Sunday night. It might be 20 minutes each morning or at lunch at before bed. It might be in the car listening to CDs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Whatever it is, set the times and do it. In your step-by-step plan, put down points that you can accomplish every week. They should be specific and achievable. Develop the discipline and take those steps every day, which will move you closer to your goals.
3. Keep a journal.
Take notes. Mr. Shoaff taught me not to trust my memory, but to write it down, to find one place to gather the information that affects change. And that advice has served me well all these years. Record the ideas and inspiration that will carry you from where you are to where you want to be. Take notes on the ideas that impact you most. Put down your thoughts and ideas. Brainstorm with yourself on where you are going and what you want to do. Record your dreams and your ambitions. Your journals are a gathering place for all the valuable information that you will find. If you are serious about becoming wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured and unique, if you come across something important, write it down. Two people will listen to or read the same material and different ideas will come to each one. Use the information you gather and record it for further reflection, for future debate and for weighing the value that it is to you.
Create time for reflection—a time to go back over, to study again the things you’ve learned and the things you’ve done each day. I call it “running the tapes again” so the day locks firmly in your memory and serves as a tool. As you go through the material in this plan, you will want to spend time reflecting on its significance to you. Take a few minutes at the end of each day and go back over the day: who you talked to, who you saw, what they said, what happened and how you felt. Every day is a piece of the mosaic of your life.
Next, take a few hours at the end of the week to reflect on the week’s activities. Also during that weekly time, take a few minutes to reflect on how this material should be applied to your life and circumstances. Take a half day at the end of the month and a weekend at the end of the year so that you’ve got it, so that it never disappears, to ensure that the past is even more valuable and will serve your future well.
5. Set goals.
Remember that your plan is the roadmap for how you are going to get to your goals, so you have to have them. Of all the things that changed my life for the better (and most quickly), it was learning how to set goals. Mastering this unique process can have a powerful effect on your life, too. I remember shortly after I met Mr. Shoaff, he asked me if I had a list of my goals, and of course I didn’t. He suggested to me that because I lacked a set of clearly defined goals that he could guess my bank balance within a few hundred dollars… and he did! Well, Mr. Shoaff immediately began helping me define my view of the future, my dreams. He taught me to set goals because it is the greatest influence on a person’s future and the greatest force that will pull a person in the direction that they want to go. The future must be planned, well designed to exert a force that pulls you toward the promise of what can be.
6. Act on your plan.
What separates the successful from the unsuccessful so many times is that the successful simply do it. They take action. They aren’t necessarily smarter than others; they just work the plan. The time to act is when the emotion is strong. Here’s what happens if you don’t: The Law of Diminishing Intent. We intend to act when the idea strikes us, when the emotion is high, but if we delay and we don’t translate that into action fairly soon, the intention starts to diminish, diminish and a month from now it’s cold and a year from now it can’t be found. So set up the discipline when the idea is strong, clear and powerful—that’s the time to work the plan. You must capture the emotion and put it into disciplined activities and translate it into equity. And here’s what is interesting: All disciplines affect each other; everything affects everything. That’s why the smallest action is important—because the value and benefits that you receive from that one little action will inspire you to do the next one and the next one… So step out and take action on your plan, because if the plan is good, then the results can be miraculous.